Confession

165.8.

My current weight. I am putting it out there for all to see. I am not where I’d like to be. I gained 25 pounds since my celiac diagnosis. First, I was in denial. It was only 10 pounds. I’ll lose it easily. But it just kept coming. Then came anger. How the fuck did I gain all this weight? Fuck celiac disease. Yes, I kept blaming my celiac disease. Going gluten free can cause weight gain but I think mine was probably just the first 10-15 pounds. I put on those pounds pretty quickly after going gluten free. The other 10 pounds? I slowly packed those on.

I was depressed about having celiac and going gluten free. So I ate. I ate crappy gluten free baked goods because I could. I ate entire packages of Glutino cookies because they were better than my beloved Oreos.

But I think I have finally reached acceptance.

self confidence
Probably one of the last times I felt happy & confident in myself.

I know I gained the weight and I’m not happy with it. I know only I can change it. So I started. In July I focused on eating healthy. The past week or so I have been tracking my food. I redid my calorie and macro calculations and am working to hit those goals. Anyone know how I can reduce the number of carbs? I eat WAY too many carbs for being gluten free!

I am slowly trying to get active again. I am working towards my 10K steps per day and 10 plus minutes of stretching. I am slowly adding running back in. And by the end of August, I hope to start lifting weights again. I was feeling so much stress earlier this summer. Work was crazy. Running my own business on top of work and then trying to fit in workouts was making me crazy.

So I stopped.

Often we neglect our mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health. We need to make sure our mind is healthy. My anxiety was getting crazy high. I was starting into a downward spiral of depression. So I stepped back. I thought, what can I drop and/or refocus on? For me, it was working out and eating better. I couldn’t skip my job. We kinda need the money. I don’t want to give up my business. I am still trying to grow it to where I want it to be. So I stopped my workouts. I still took daily walks. I started making better food choices.

I started small and am building towards where I want to be.

What else happened when I gained all this weight? I lost my self-confidence. I want that back. I want to feel confident in everything I do. I want to feel good in my clothes. Right now all my clothes feel too tight or don’t sit well. Plus, I am wearing the same few pieces all the time. They are easy. I know they fit somewhat ok. It’s time to start utilizing everything in my closet. I want to wear skirts and heels. I want to put on makeup and feel pretty again.

I truly believe that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. I know if I start dressing like I feel pretty or sexy, I will actually start feeling pretty and sexy again. My plan is to get in the shower just 5 minutes earlier. Five minutes should give me enough time to pick out a different outfit and put on some eye shadow and mascara. I can put on lipstick at work after I eat my breakfast.

How do you boost your self-confidence when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Follow me on Instagram to keep an eye on my journey! I try to document my fitness and food!

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June and July Wrap Up

July is coming to an end. How have I done the last few months?

Not that great.

I have given up on working out. I was being so sporadic I didn’t feel it was worth it. I did better in June than July but I can’t get my head in order. My 9-5 has been crazy this month and despite having good intentions every morning I am dead by the time I get home. My head is spinning and all I want to do is zone out and relax. I have been giving myself permission to do so. I think it is important for my mental health to just have some downtime.

I have been focusing on eating better. And I would say 90% of the time I have been doing pretty well. I am eating fruits and vegetables and filling up on protein. I am limiting my sweets and doing really well in this category. July has seen me eating a lot of potato chips and pretzels. I apparently am heading towards a salty binge. Week days are so much better than weekends because I tend to graze when I’m writing or editing photos.

I am giving myself permission to take time and get one area of my life somewhat controlled before I add another element. For July I really focused on my food and will continue to do so through August. My plan is to reintroduce workouts in September. I want to try running again plus restart the Bikini Body strength program. It’s a 6-day program but I plan to start slow and do just Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the weekends. I will rest on Tuesday and Thursday. Once I feel comfortable with that, I will add in one more day to do the program as written.

I think mental health is just as important as physical health. Stepping away from exercise is both bad and good for mental health. I know I feel better when I workout but right now working out is causing me to stress more. I am still taking walk breaks every day, just not doing strength or cardio workouts. I would love to but I need to get my mental health in order.

I have not journaled much in June and not at all in July. I plan to start adding that back in during August. I will start off with once a week and build from there. I also want to start reading before bed again. I have a stack of magazines that are calling my name but I have picked surfing Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead. As much as I enjoy mindlessly playing around on Facebook, I need to use my time better.

It’s been a rough summer but everything gets better eventually, right?

How do you keep yourself motivated? What do you do for mental health? Tell me in the comments!

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Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2

This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.

training

I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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Are you happy and healthy?

“If you don’t take care of your body where are you going to live?”

I don’t care if you are a healthy weight, overweight or obese… are you happy with your body?

If not, you need to figure out why and what makes you unhappy and take steps to change it. People of all sizes can be happy with their body, or unhappy. The above quote puts it well, you are the only one who can take care of your body. You are the one that has to live in your body every day. Why wouldn’t you want to take care of it?

happy
I used my leave time to jump start my running.

I have struggled with being happy and taking care of myself. I think we all do. I’ve talked about my celiac diagnosis before. I’ve mentioned I have gained weight since my diagnosis (a common occurrence when celiacs go gluten free). Before my diagnosis, I was losing fairly quickly and was down to 140. I was happy there and wanted to work on building strength. I am now 157 and miserable. I feel flabby. My clothes are too tight (and a few pants no longer fit). I am struggling to lose weight.

I also went through a period of stuffing my face with all those gluten free cookies and cupcakes. I wasn’t happy. I was stressed. I ate my feelings. I was caught in a cycle of feeling stressed and unhappy, stuffing my face to feel better, and then feeling more unhappy because I just ate a million calories.

I know what I need to do. I think most of us know what we need to do. The struggle is to actually follow through and do it. I keep starting, giving up and starting over. It’s time to end that cycle. I am not sure who the following quote is attributed to as I’ve never seen a name attached to it but it is something I keep telling myself…

“If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

I need to tell myself this every day. I am tired of starting over, of not changing, not moving forward. I want to feel healthy and happy. I am the only one who can keep going. I am the only one that can change my actions.

As of last Thursday (who needs Mondays or the first of the month), I have been working hard to make sure I track my food. I know tracking my calories helps me lose weight. It’s worked before and every time I stop I overeat. I also know I can get obsessive so I have adopted a more loose style of tracking food. I’m not worrying if I go over calories. It is what it is. But I might think, was I really hungry? Was I stressed? Reflect and move forward.

I am trying to hit my 10k steps each day and workout. I am currently doing a Nike Training Club program, which includes running. But being back in Phoenix heat I am struggling to run but am trying to do cardio on those days if I don’t run. I feel better when I workout. I am also working on shoulder and hip mobility so when my 6 weeks rest is up I can get back to New Rules of Lifting for Women. I enjoy lifting weights. It gives me a different level of satisfaction than running. I need both.

July 7th was my new year. I am starting over but this time, I am sticking with it. I want to happy. I deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. It will be hard. There will be struggles, but I am ready for the challenge.

Yes, taking care of yourself is hard work. Everything worth fighting for is hard work.

You are worth fighting for.

What quote gets you through the difficult times?

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Start Small

start small

Start small… go back to the basics.

I’ve been struggling to get back into the habit/routine of working out. I haven’t been fully committed to my workouts, especially running, over the past several months. The problem is I want to be at the level I was when I fell off the wagon. I’ve said it before… I know what I’m capable and it is frustrating to feel so far from my best.

When you haven’t been consistent you need to go back to the beginning. But it is so hard!

I want to just be great at eating healthy and making good diet choices. I wish I could go out and run 10:30 miles. But I can’t. I have to take it slow and steady. I have to start small and build on the healthy habits.

I am lucky I don’t have to start at the bottom, but I am close. Instead of just running six miles I am run/walking. I do get frustrated but I know I will be better off in the long run.

start small
Getting back on the horse with run/walks

My diet has been off the rails. I’ve been eating a lot of sugar for energy and to make myself feel better. I know sugar fixes these things temporarily. I am not quitting sugar cold turkey. I am cutting back. Instead of the entire box of Milk Duds, I am having a handful. Instead of getting a Snickers and Reese’s peanut butter cup from the vending machine I get one or the other. I am making sure I am getting my fruits and vegetables. I am working hard to eat all the protein!

Start small.

If you want to start eating better or working out pick one thing and focus on it until it becomes second nature.

Looking to improve your diet? Start small and make sure you are drinking enough water. Once you have water intake as a habit add something else. Want to eat more fruit and vegetables? Add one serving to each meal. Eat too much chocolate? Cut one serving from each day.

Want to start working out? Look at where you are now and add something. Do you sit at a desk all day? Get up and take a 15-minute walk break twice a day (once in the morning and once in the afternoon). Stretch each night after dinner. Once these feel like second nature add another walk after work. Or at lunch.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t need to be difficult. It just needs to be something you can do. You just add more as you get comfortable with the last step.

Just start.

And keep at it. You will stumble. You will fall but what matters is how you react. Do you get back up, dust yourself off, and start again? Or do you give up and start surfing the couch?

How do you start small when you get off track? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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Celiac Awareness Month

Celiac Awareness Month is May.

Officially a year has passed since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am not going to sugarcoat it, the past year has been rough. I struggled to adjust to a new diet. Giving up gluten is hard. Gluten is in more than you can even imagine. Things you wouldn’t even think of. I had to spend more time reading every single label in the grocery store. Grocery shopping, a chore I hate, suddenly took twice as long. I had to give up all my favorite fast foods. No more McDonalds. No more french fries almost anywhere. I started stuffing my face with dark chocolate and Talenti. I couldn’t stop shoveling in the sugar trying to appease my loss.

2015-08-06 12.47.00
Gluten free grilled cheese & fries from Jewel’s, a local all gf place.

I gained weight. I saw the scale go up nine pounds by August. Nine pounds in four months. I knew weight gain was probable but I wasn’t mentally prepared to gain so much in such a short time.

I fell into a depression.  Eventually, I stopped working out. It all seemed too much. I didn’t want to run. I just wanted to sink into the couch and never leave. I was wallowing in self-pity. I knew I needed to pull myself out but I couldn’t.

Of course, I was thankful to have finally gotten a diagnosis. I felt better almost instantly. The bloating and brain fog were gone. I stopped getting migraines. I hadn’t felt “right” for many years. I had almost forgotten what it felt like. It was amazing. I didn’t know I could physically feel this good. I just had to get back to feeling mentally “right”.

I went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order but they all came around. I still get angry now and then but not like I was in the first few months. I have *mostly* accepted it. I have accepted the diagnosis and not having gluten for the rest of my life but I haven’t fully accepted that others don’t have to make gluten free options. I still want McDonalds to be gluten free. I still want places to put the burger on the bun for me. I am slowly accepting that places don’t get celiac and gluten but I am hopeful.

I hope that my voice can bring about change. That restaurants and servers will understand this isn’t an allergy and proper prep is important. Cross contamination is a big deal. You may not see it but I will be affected. Celiac disease is an invisible illness. I won’t go into anaphylactic shock like a peanut allergy. You may never know that your carelessness made me so bloated I had to unbutton my pants at a baseball game. That I woke up the next day with a migraine. That I struggled to stay awake for the rest of the weekend. That I couldn’t get anything done for a few days. Celiac disease does not have a visible reaction. I suffer in silence.

I will speak for those who struggle to speak for themselves. I want to be the voice of celiac disease because it is important for people and places to know it isn’t an allergy. It isn’t being a hipster. It isn’t about a diet. Or trying to lose weight. It is about my health. My life.

May is celiac awareness month and I hope that my blog has made you aware of an often misunderstood auto-immune disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I try to be as open as possible about my diagnosis and struggle.

Helpful Links:
What is celiac disease?
Symptoms Checklist
7 Diseases Doctors Miss

I included the last link because for 10+ I thought I had IBS. I was given that diagnosis while I was in college but never had any testing. I finally had enough of the symptoms and wanted to know if it was something more or if I should adjust my diet. My symptoms started long before that but I just thought it was normal. I had no clue about celiac disease or even what gluten was!

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Struggles & Moving Forward

I make no secret that I have put on weight over the past year, approximately 15 pounds. I gained the first nine in the first months after my celiac diagnosis. The other six have been a more recent occurrence, due to my ongoing stress from my job and not having the energy to work out.

I am not happy with the extra pounds. I am not happy being stressed out. And I am most certainly not happy not working out.

I am making a commitment to myself.  I will shake off the stress of the day and run or lift weights. I will put work behind me when I get home. I have to or I will keep digging myself deeper into this hole.

I am trying to forget being perfect and just try a little each day. I don’t have to run a 10:30-minute mile for an hour each day but if I can get out and run/walk for 30 minutes I am doing better than I was yesterday.

I haven’t really kept up with my healthy eating or workouts over the past year. I feel as if I am starting over. And it’s hard. I know where I was a year ago and am not even close to being as fast. Or able to run as far. Starting over feels harder than starting something for the first time. I know what I am capable of but it seems so far away.

2016-04-23 08.47.25

I ran five miles on Saturday and averaged 12:30 per mile, almost two minutes slower than a year ago. I had to take walk breaks every mile. But I did it. That is what counts.

I have done better with my strength training the last few months. I still have a weak upper body but I am seeing some progression. I have never had much upper body strength but I love the feeling of improvement.

I was miserable this past year. I’ve been depressed over my diagnosis and my job but I’ve had enough. I want to happy and healthy again.  I want to run a marathon in January. I know where I’ve been and I know I can get there again. I need to commit to myself.  I need to find a routine and stick to it.

I have put my workouts for the week on my calendar. I will make sure to do them because if I don’t I know I will feel worse.

How do you make sure you fit in healthy eating and workouts when you’re stressed and have limited time for everything? 

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Maui 2016

We went to Maui for a week in February. It was amazing, as usual.

Here is the trip in photos. These are most of my cell phone shots. There are some things missing because I didn’t take out my phone and used my DSLR instead. This was a vacation and a business trip. Won’t you come along with me?

PS All the restaurants have plenty of gluten free options. All the staff was knowledgeable and helpful when they learned I needed to eat gf because of celiac.

PPS Many of the photos are links to the places that open in a new window.

Leaving, on a jet plane. The flight took longer than it should because of head winds. It felt like 7 hours.
Leaving, on a jet plane. The flight took longer than it should because of head winds. It felt like 7 hours.
The view from our hotel room... not too shabby
The view from our hotel room… not too shabby
Another view from our room at Makena Beach and Golf Resort
Another view from our room at Makena Beach and Golf Resort
2-22-16 pizza
Polynesan Pizza from Maui Brick Oven
Chicken stuffed with mango and goat cheese
Chicken stuffed with mango and goat cheese
Cheesecake with a macadamia nut crust
Cheesecake with a macadamia nut crust
We said good morning from 10,000 feet up
We said good morning from 10,000 feet up
Iao Valley Needle
Iao Valley Needle
Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Blowhole
Blowhole
My first attempt of a panorama on my newish phone
My first attempt of a panorama on my newish phone
Pomegranate Mojito
Pomegranate Mojito
Ahi
Ahi
Bacon and Egg
Bacon and Egg
We had to stock up on coffee
We had to stock up on coffee
Shave Ice
Shave Ice
On our shopping trip
On our shopping trip
Hotel Bar at sunset
Hotel Bar at sunset
Good morning!
Good morning Maui!
Hand roll
Hand roll
Sushi
Sushi
Drink
Drink
Whale Watch
Whale Watch
Harbor area
Harbor area
Drinks
Drinks
Sunset at dinner
Sunset at dinner
Last hotel breakfast
Last hotel breakfast
Lunch in Hana
Lunch in Hana
Sunset on the walk to dinner
Sunset on the walk to dinner
Plantation Punch
Plantation Punch
Ahi
Ahi
Landing in Phoenix
Landing in Phoenix

What is your favorite vacation spot?

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Love

Valentine’s Day was Sunday.

Normally, I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. I am not a believer in the holiday but I think it’s important to show yourself some love.

We are all guilty of proclaiming what we hate about our body and/or ourselves. Myself included.

2016 is my year. I am working on myself and learning how to relax and let things go. Part of my stress relief is writing in my journal. As I was writing the other day I started writing about what I love about me. I think it is easy to lose what makes us special and amazing when life happens and we are bombarded with images of perfect people and/or perfect lives.

I am far from perfect.

But I do have a lot to love about myself.

  1. I love the shape that my face has settled into. It’s still round but it doesn’t seem as round and child-like as it did a few years ago. I love looking more my age.
  2. I am strong and independent. Yes, I am in a fantastic relationship but I am still a strong woman and depend on my man because I can, not because I have to. I love that I have my own time to do the things I love.
  3. My collarbones. I have always loved my collarbones. I especially love wearing tops/dresses that accentuate them. And I love the song Clavicle by Alkaline Trio because my favorite group sings about my favorite part of my body.
  4. I love learning. I have always been smart and I really do love learning. I read a lot of articles and books on subjects that interest me. I listen to podcasts as well, my current favorite is Stuff You Missed in History Class. It has introduced me to subjects I knew nothing about or reintroduced me to things I forgot about. I highly recommend it.
  5. My legs. They can carry me 13.1 miles and soon 26.2. I use them to run and lift weights. I can walk and climb stairs. Jump. The powered me through 20+ years of dance lessons.
Recent photo that shows my face shape and clavicles.
A Recent photo that shows my face shape and clavicles.

Those are my top five. I am sure if I tried I could come up with a few more.

I’m issuing you a challenge… write down the top five things you love about yourself and share at least one in the comments!

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2016 PF Changs Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Sunday I ran a half marathon. I was not trained. For a while, I didn’t even want to do it. I was originally supposed to do a marathon, my first, but didn’t get far in training. I had a rough year and for some reason got a mental block about running.

Why do I do this to myself?
Why do I do this to myself?

I finally decided I needed to run the half. I signed up and paid and did not finish is better than did not start. I got up early yesterday morning and braved the (Phoenix) cold. I finished. It was a battle but I did it.

Brrrr...
Brrrr…

I started out at my normal race pace but knew I needed to slow down. I was running 10:30-11:00-minute miles for my first three miles. I took a walk break for a mile and knew I needed to slow down.

Mile 7
Mile 7

I tried to watch my pace and preserve energy for the later miles. I knew the (Phoenix) hill at mile 9 was going to challenge me. It does every year. You crest the hill and get to go down but then you have to turn around and go back up. It is the biggest mental hurdle on the entire course.

Mile 7: Did that take the photo? Best to take another just in case!
Mile 7: Did that take the photo? Best to take another just in case!

Then I hit mile 10. The road has a slight incline and is slanted. I wanted to stop. I almost just went to the side of the road to sit down and wait for the sweeper vehicle. I struggled to imagine finishing the last three miles. I repeated, “it’s only a 5K, you can do a 5k” over and over. I probably sounded like a crazy person.

At mile 11 I took a final walk break. I didn’t feel any pain until I switched to walking. My feet were on fire. My hips hurt. My toes felt like they were going to fall off. But then I hit mile 12 and started to run again. I knew the finish was within reach. I looked up and saw the marathoners coming in. I said to myself, that will be you next year. You will make it through this half and finish your first full marathon one year from today.

I tried to watch my pace but I just kept going. I have run this course three previous times. I know it like the back of my hand. The finish was so close I could taste it. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to finish a race, especially knowing I wasn’t going to PR.

To finish, you run over a bridge, make a right and go the last .1 (or so). Running over the bridge, I know how close I am and always want to speed up. I made sure to keep myself in check. Mile 13 was 10:39, my best mile. But when I turn the corner? All bets are off. I pretty much sprinted (for me) the last .10. I glanced at my Fitbit Surge and saw 7:40 at one point. I did slow down a bit but I ended the race with a 7:34-minute mile (for .10 of a mile).

Finished and earned that medal!
Finished and earned that medal!

I collected my medal and desperately wanted a Gatorade. The course was stingy this year. I think I got maybe an ounce at the three stations. I only carried water (in my new Nathan Hydration belt – amazing btw) and really wanted more Gatorade to give me a boost on the course. I also did not see any orange slices or Glukos packs at the stations (I saw the evidence all over the course though). Thankfully, I carry my own Gu packets for situations like this.

Observations:

  • There were a lot more walkers than previous years. I did walk (3 run/1walk) but there were a lot of people that seemed to be just walking
  • The aid stations seemed poorly stocked. The first water station was half empty by the time I reached them. Yes, I was a tad slower than past years but not by much. We received maybe two sips of Gatorade at each station and as I said before I saw no food, or food like items, at any of them (it is possible I just missed them)
  • There were no clear directions on how to leave the finish area. All it said was to go under the bridge. I did but apparently not in the right spot. I still got out, just had to do some off roading.
  • I took a fruit cup and banana after because I didn’t want to be the person asking if there is gluten in things while a million people attack the free foods.
  • The volunteers did do a great job at the finish, making sure people only took one. Someone was trying to grab for a friend and they would only let him take one. He was yelling to friend to come and the volunteer apologized and said she had to make sure everyone got one.

While I was at the expo on Friday I signed up for next years marathon. There was a special price and I received two free shirts. I plan to make 2016 my year so that I can conquer 26.2 miles in January 2017. I hope to document my year and would love if you joined me. I’ll have blog posts, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter updates. If you aren’t following me all over the internet, please be sure to do so. You don’t want to miss out, do you?

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